As I type the fallout from the Boris Johnson cabinet reshuffle is dominating the UK news media, but should we be surprised that Boris has decided to do this now? 

Far be it for me to call the Prime Minister a populist, but even he must have seen the buzz and clamour about wildcards in FPL over the last couple of weeks and thought that he too fancied a bit of that. 

So out goes Dominic Raab, and in comes Liz Truss. Farewell Gavin Williamson and welcome on board Nadhim Zahawi. So long Robert Jenrick, and hello to Michael Gove.

Life is really but a game, isn’t it? 

Onto GW5! 

Defender: Max Kilman, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Last week I tipped a Wolves defender and Romain Saiss did not let me down, delivering a first clean sheet of the season as Wolves walloped Watford. 

This week I like their prospects of another clean sheet against a Brentford side who have only scored three goals this season, and two of them were against Arsenal, so y’know….

Therefore, I’ve decided to pick a player that sounds like he would be what Americans would have called James Bond, had they thought of him first – Max Kilman. 

Now I’d like to make it clear that to the best of my knowledge Max has never harmed a fly, but he can do your team a power of good with a clean sheet this weekend. Owned by less than 0.5% and costing just £4.5m, can you afford NOT to go with him? 

Midfielder: Demarai Gray, Everton 

Great managers don’t just create good teams, they unleash the potential of good players to become great players. 

Rafa Benitez is once again doing Rafa Benitez things, with Everton sitting joint top of the Premier League after picking up three wins and a draw in their opening four fixtures. 

Rafa’s capture of the eternally-promising-but-never-delivering Demarai Gray raised a couple of eyebrows this summer, but in fairness it’s proven to be a masterstroke thus far. A goal in three consecutive games means that Gray is finally starting to deliver on the undoubted potential he has always possessed, but never quite realised. 

An away fixture beckons to an Aston Villa side who have conceded seven in four games with just one clean sheet against Newcastle United. For £5.7m he’s looking like a real bargain pick. 

Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal

During pre-season when Harry Kane was taking an extended holiday, all the FPL talk was of avoiding ‘premium’ forwards and instead load your team with high-value midfielders. 

Then Ronaldo and Lukaku arrived and that plan was ripped up faster than a Brexit trade deal. Suddenly we all needed an expensive striker or two. 

However, there’s a man who in the not too distant past plundered 22 goals in consecutive seasons, smashing the 200-point barrier, and today he costs less than ten million FPL pounds. He’s owned by just 2.2% of players, and he got his goal tally moving last weekend with the only goal of the game and all three bonus points. 

This weekend he faces a Burnley side who seem to have become everybody’s second-most-hated team. They’ve shipped eight goals in four games, and if (admittedly it’s a big if) Arsenal can turn things around, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may well prove to be a bargain. 

Captain: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool

Way back in GW1 I may have casually mentioned that Trent may become a viable captaincy choice this season, but even I hadn’t thought it would come this early. 

However, with three clean sheets, two assists and eight bonus points in just four games, the time is now. Two 12-point hauls already and a home fixture against a more adventurous Crystal Palace side coming to Anfield (who he has scored against in the past). 

It’s bold. It’s brave. It’s not for the faint of heart. 

Outsider: Andrew Omobamidele, Norwich City

If you’re like me, you normally brave the International breaks, get your head down and wait for the fun to return. However, this time I learned something while watching the Republic of Ireland play, and that is the emergence of Andrew Omobamidele. He was sensational against Portugal and Serbia, and even caught the eye of his club manager at Norwich as Daniel sat up on his couch, said ‘Farke’ and put him in his first XI last weekend. 

Just £3.9m you know. He’s an FPL squad enablers dream. 

Your move…

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 4: Ronaldo is back for Manchester United

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 3: Manchester United, West Ham and Leicester?

Fantasy Football Gameweek 2: Man City, Palace & Leeds to Bounce Back?

Gameweek 1 Preview: Fantasy Football – Bruno or BruNO??

5 Tips To Avoid FPL Burnout

5 Tips To Avoid FPL Burnout

Written by Ash @FPLHints

Burnout isn’t something you usually associate with a game of fantasy. If anything, the former and the latter are a contradiction of terms. But even in the world of fantasy football you can have supposed ‘bad days’ for numerous reasons and even quit forever.

In my experience you are more prone to burnout if you are addicted to something or if you no longer find it fun. I should know as I have suffered from it at times to the point where I have said that I would ‘semi-retire’ from FPL (whatever the heck that means) or thought of packing it in altogether.  Of course, one day I will quit FPL but I would want to do so on a high or at the end of an organic journey, not because I was fed up or hated the game.

I have been playing FPL since 2007 and have been a fully-fledged FPL addict since 2010. By addict I mean taking the game more seriously in comparison to a so-called casual manager. You would naturally think I would get better and better with this approach, right? 

Wrong

My overall rank actually got progressively worse the more I wrote about FPL and funnily enough when I finally took a break from creating FPL content I had my best every finish (Top 5K) in 9 years. Coincidence? Probably not if I’m being honest.

Naturally there is a correlation between a decline in my fortunes, being unlucky and not enjoying the game as much as I used to.  I certainly don’t find FPL as fun as I used to. For instance Giroud’s red card, when I happened to captain him on Boxing Day 2014, was a watershed moment and in many ways took a fair bit of time to recover from.  It was the point from which I stopped playing FPL with a risk-inclined mind-set to adopting a heavily risk-averse approach.

(ED. Funny as **** from a neutral, non-Giroud owning perspective though)

Aside from my own experiences, there are plenty of FPL accounts and websites that used to be popular which no longer exist, no doubt in small part due to burnout.

However, with everything in life, we need context. Less than 3 million managers played FPL when I finished 110th in the world, yet since then millions more play the game and every season it becomes even more difficult to finish in the coveted Top 10k. Probability would dictate that experienced managers’ overall ranks will go down due to the increase in managers. I think it’s a bonus in itself if my overall rank improves substantially from the previous season in which less managers played the game. I’m not ashamed to say that overall rank matters a lot to me in FPL. With that said, there’s no way I’m going to finish 110th ever again in FPL.

That’s enough of me banging on about my team.  I wanted to share my experiences as I do at times suffer from FPL burnout. With this in mind, here are my 5 tips to allay burnout in the weird and unpredictable world of FPL:

 1. Be sure to set realistic goals

You’re not going to hit every one of your FPL goals for a given season. And in this day and age you may not even come close to winning any of your mini-leagues. You need to be practical in what you’re looking to achieve. This is all the more true if you regard yourself as a non-casual FPL manager. 

None of us are experts in the true sense of the word and we’re all prone to suffering from a below par season or bad run of form here and there. An achievable aim could be winning a small mini-league or aiming to finish in the top 1% of the overall rankings.  I’m glad I have been able to achieve the latter on multiple occasions and to be frank this is one of my motivations at the start of each season.

2. Try alternative games to FPL

Without overloading myself, I’ve had the good fortune of playing multiple fantasy football and predictor games on the side when also playing FPL.  Those games tend to be smaller and different to FPL.  There have been weeks in which I haven’t done well in FPL, but done well in the alternative games. They serve their duty as a good release from the intensity of FPL A good example of this is Perfect Picks.

It’s played by hundreds of people rather than millions. It’s a multi-sport prediction game with an easy to navigate interface. I’ve found it simple to play and managed to become their World Number One at the end of last season which only served to boost my ego and to some extent complemented my anticipation skills.

3. KISS

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

You may be prone to burnout if you plan heavily in advance but then fail to achieve your goals with the desired amount of fantasy points or overall rank. You also don’t need to overcomplicate things by signing up to dozens of random subscription services or get lost inside a monochrome sea of spreadsheets. Is it really worth consuming too much content? Of course not.  Have some sort of strategy but be prepared for unexpected events in FPL. Plan within reason and be aware of potential pitfalls.

Be flexible in your approach and consume knowledge from trustworthy sources but never overload yourself with heaps of content. Also, avoid getting lost in groupthink. You are in charge of your FPL team.  Ultimately do what you deem is best and not what an FPL Twitter account is ranting on about as their opinion isn’t a single source of truth.

4. Take a break if you need to

I became addicted to FPL as I found it fun. It should be a window into the world of fantasy and escapism – away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  If you’re not finding it fun take a break immediately. If you’re really fed up of FPL and are only playing it as your online and offline mates are playing it, STOP.

There’s no harm in saying no. I took a sabbatical for two seasons (albeit to dedicate more time to other pursuits) and would gladly take another sabbatical. In fact, I found my more recent break from content creation to be very beneficial and it freed up time for me to concentrate on far more important things. If you can’t recharge your FPL batteries during the off-season take more time out and do what is best.

5. Focus on your mental and physical health

In some ways this may link to the previous point but without you necessarily putting a halt to playing FPL. Don’t let those pesky red arrows get you down. They don’t mean much at all in the wider context of things. You may see countless FPL managers sharing ridiculously high scores on your social media timelines and it may make it appear to you that you did terrible in comparison. But don’t let that echo chamber fool you. Hardly anyone is going to share their fantasy football failures so the better scores will always be more inflated in comparison and more so when you actually see the actual average for the week. 

Use your time wisely. If your health permits, consider exercising rather than sitting aimlessly waiting for the game to update or watching a pointless football match on TV. You can achieve so much more with your fitness if you invest time properly than worrying about a make-believe game that you can’t control. 

Finally, remember that for every bad Gameweek there’s a good Gameweek. For every Giroud red card, there’s Aguero scoring 5 goals. Dealing with reality should trump fantasy, always. You catch my drift? Of course, you do. Now go on and be the change you wish to see!

Ash, is the Chief Editor of FPLHINTS Magazine. He has been creating FPL content on multiple platforms since 2011. He probably couldn’t beat Ryan in a race but did beat him in FPL last season.

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Written by Niall The Legend Hawthorne

We finally reach the end of this turgid, harrowing, depressing, weird, condensed FPL season.

To those of you who are winning you should know that this season will forever have an Asterix next to it and it doesn’t count.*

To those of you like me who have languished badly all season and the game stopped making sense, you shall inherit the earth. It’s the game that’s wrong, not you.

Roll on GW1 of next season when we’ll have sunshine, fans in stadiums and normality back once more. We’ll have a cracking four team title race, nine teams in relegation trouble all season long, VAR will finally work like it’s supposed to, and Micah Richards will body slam Gary Neville after the laughing finally stops.

Onto GW38!

Defender: Stuart Dallas, Leeds United

Let’s finish the season with the top-scoring defender in the game, eh?

Earlier this season Leeds United walloped The Baggies by five, with Dallas getting an assist, three bonus points and a 12-point haul. With Big Sam departing stage left holding a pint of wine in his right hand and a gravy boat in his left hand, West Brom players will have their minds elsewhere as they frantically try to get a new contract at a Premier League club. If your name is not Pereira, best of luck with that.

Dallas to score, keep a clean sheet and then step out of the shower after the game to reveal that this whole season has just been a dream.

We can hope.

Midfielder: Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale has 9 goals, 3 assists and has played over 60 minutes in a game just 9 times this season.

If he could ever be arsed about football again, he’d be amazing.

Alas his head doesn’t seem to be in the game anymore, and after this game nobody has a clue as to where he will end up next season – The Real Madrid bench? The Spurs team? The golf course? Your guess is as good as mine.

However, he didn’t start last week against Villa so I reckon he’s nailed on to start this weekend and may well sign off (possibly) from Spurs once more with a goal or two.

Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Choosing who to pick up front this week was impossible!

Firmino is bang in form, playing for a team on a mission, has two goals and an assist against the same opponent from earlier in the season.

Harry Kane wants the golden boot almost as much as he wants to leave Spurs.

Kelechi Iheanacho can’t stop scoring and wants to fire Leicester into the Champions League again.

Chris Wood is the form striker in the league and faces Sheffield United.

Patrick Bamford faces relegated West Brom who he scored 8 points against earlier this season.

They all make compelling cases, but my gut, my head and my heart say it’s time to say farewell to Sergio Aguero by sticking him up front. His last ever Premier League game (unless he fancies partnering Teemu Pukki up front at Carrow Road next season), and we say farewell to a true Premier League legend.

Only Andy Cole, Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer have scored more than the Argentinian maestro. While Pep will be rotating his team ahead of the European Cup final, this is the perfect opportunity to give Aguero a fully deserved swansong, because barring injury he ain’t starting against Chelsea in Portugal!

The returning City fans could witness the final goal(s) of the Aguero era, and he only needs five to catch Andy Cole….

Just saying.

Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

The final big call for you to make, and there are some golden rules you should always keep in mind.

Firstly, always pick a player who has something to play for. Secondly, pick a player in form right now. Thirdly, always captain Salah.

With all three boxes ticked, you should captain Mo Salah.

Outsider: Fabio Carvalho, Fulham

Let’s try to squeeze in just one more 0.0% owned point-scoring tip this season, shall we?

Fabio Carvalho has started the last two for Fulham, scoring in one, and faces Newcastle at home, and we all know how rubbish Newcastle are, right? (Yes, I admit they did better than I expected, well done Newcastle fans).

So that’s that. My final preview for another season. Thanks for reading. Thanks for not shouting at me when I was wrong. You could tell me you love me when I’m right, but we can work on that. So, until the website uploads the new players for next season, and we all start working on the first of our 1,274 draft teams, for one last time it’s your move….

*Yes, it counts. Well done. I’m just jealous.

Written by @niallhawthorne

Time Travel…

No longer the subject of science-fiction nerds, it’s real, and the time-travellers walk among us. They also play FPL in their droves, amazingly.

28 people from the future triple-captained Alisson Becker in a game where he became the first goalkeeper in the full history of Liverpool Football Club to score a goal.

If that’s not bad enough…

1 person from the future is probably getting a terse holographic telling off from a star lord in the 32nd century for really extracting the urine, when he triple captained Sheffield United debutante Daniel Jebbison.

It’s one thing to lurk in the shadows of a time period you don’t belong to, dropping hints that you exist without ever being spotted. It’s quite another to metaphorically strip arse naked and walk up and down Time Square telling the whole world that you got on the Jebbison bandwagon before anybody else on Earth in the 21st century.

The gall of some people….

Onto GW37!

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool

Play it again Sam! (or John, Michael, Sarah, Michelle, whatever your name happens to be).

There’s no way I can not tip Trent Alexander-Arnold once more, because he’s playing out of his skin right now. A few weeks ago, I pointed out that he had adopted a new role, a quasi-right-back-attacking-midfielder role, if you pay close enough attention.

His last eight appearances have yielded three clean sheets, five assists and a goal. Just one blank in those eight games, to a 95th minute equaliser.

He’s dragging Liverpool kicking and screaming, against all odds, to a potential top-four spot. Only a quarter of FPL players own him.

Forget clean sheets, they would be a welcome bonus. This fella is an out of position attacking midfielder, and an FPL must have.

Midfielder: Joe Willock, Newcastle United

We need to get a handle on the level of hyperbole that is sloshing around in the world of football right now. On Sunday afternoon it was reported that ‘Diogo Jota is out for the season’, and my immediate reaction was to once more assume the foetal position and start rocking back and forth. Then it dawned on me that the season ends next week. FFS.

However, if you’re like me and you have a Jota shaped hole in your squad, I’m recommending Joe Willock to you. He’s scored five goals in his last five appearances, one in each game, and in three of those he came off the bench with just minutes left on the clock.

Forward: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal

There is no rhyme nor reason for this tip. He’s not started in four games and he hasn’t scored since GW31.

However, I have a hunch.

He has 13 goals to his name this season in one of the worst Arsenal teams for quite a long time. He’s owned by less than 5%, so if you have some ground to make up in your mini league, step this way…

Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

The golden ticket at this stage of any season is to hang your armband around a player who still has something to fight for.

Mo has a top four spot on his mind and is level pegging with Harry Kane for the Golden Boot. That’s double trouble for his opponents.

This week he travels to Turf Moor to take on Burnley, who are going to try and replicate the West Brom approach, but mark Alisson Becker at corners.

Mo scored yet again on Sunday, making it four consecutive games with returns, and he has five goals and an assist in his last seven starts. You get the feeling either he or Kane will score a flurry to seal the deal in the Golden Boot race, and what Liverpool wouldn’t give for it to be Salah on Wednesday night.

Outsider: Christian Benteke, Crystal Palace

Don’t start.

I mean it, just don’t bloody start.

Yes, it’s Benteke, but I’m still recovering from watching my goalkeeper head in the winner in the 95th minute, so anything is possible right now.

Our old buddy Benteke has goals in three consecutive appearances and looks primed to bully a less than physically imposing Arsenal defence this week.

Your move….

Gameweek 36 Preview: Liverpool, Spurs and Southampton?

Fantasy Football: Triple Gameweek for Manchester United!!

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